Another strong qualifying performance on Saturday for Sauber F1's Nico Hulkenberg will see him start from seventh place for Sunday's Indian Grand Prix. Even though that's ahead of the two McLarens, Hulkenberg still expects the fight to beat them to the line in the race will be a tough one.

"Overall it was quite a good qualifying. P7 is a good position for tomorrow, and I expect a close battle with the McLarens," said Hulkenberg, who starts a row ahead of both Sergio Perez and Jenson Button who qualified in ninth and tenth respectively.

But despite having the upper hand in terms of grid position, Hulkenberg knows that it will still be hard work to maintain that advantage to the chequered flag.

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"They chose a different approach by qualifying on the hard tyre, we qualified on the soft, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top," he explained.

"In the race we have to see how we get on with the soft tyres, as they didn't look too good in free practice yesterday," he added. "Since then we have improved the car, so they should last a bit longer. The long runs on the medium tyre looked good."

"With Nico getting into qualifying three again, starting seventh, the strategy we have chosen and our race pace, our aim is to score points again," contributed Tom McCullough, Sauber's head of track engineering:

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn hailed Hulkenberg's "flawless performance" in qualifying, which proved to be in stark contrast to the struggles of his team mate Esteban Gutierrez on Saturday.

"Esteban had a difficult FP3 in the morning, not being able to get a clear lap on the option tyre," she said. "After a strong qualifying one he was not able to replicate the time in qualifying two."

Gutierrez was trying to look on the bright side, after ending up being eliminated in Q2 which means he will start from 16th place on the grid for Sunday's race.

"We had good pace and managed to fix the issues we had [Friday]," he said "However, I struggled to feel comfortable with the track. It's very slippery.

"Overall, it has been a complicated weekend, but we managed a good Q1. The car was handling really well and we were in a good shape for Q2," he continued. "Then [I] went over the kerb and the hit was quite hard, that distracted me quite a bit.

Gutierrez revealed that he was still suffering form the after-effects of the hit. "My neck started to hurt a lot and now I have to take care of that to be ready for the race," he said